Mercedes-Benz has announced it will set up electric vehicle production at the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI) in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to produce EQ-branded electric SUV models.
Thanks to an earlier investment of $1.3 billion announced in 2015, the Tuscaloosa plant is currently being expanded to prepare for the production of the next SUV generation including plug-in hybrid models.
This newest plant expansion comprises a new body shop, major enhancements to the SUV assembly shop. A new battery plant will also be built near the existing passenger-car plant for local demand, while a new global logistics center and new after-market North American sales hub will be built five miles from the Tuscaloosa plant in Bibb County.
In total, Mercedes-Benz plans to invest $1 billion in the expansion of its industrial footprint in the region, most of which is slated for the electric initiative. It is expected that once completed these investments will create more than 600 additional jobs. Final details of the plans are still being worked on in partnership with the State of Alabama but the company says the electric SUVs will begin production in the early 2020's.
By 2022, Mercedes plans to electrify the entire portfolio of vehicles and offer more than 50 electrified vehicle variants. The first EQ series model, EQC, will go into production in 2019 in Bremen, Germany. Technology and product brand EQ is an integral part of CASE, which stands for the intelligent combination of the strategic pillars of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric).
Mercedes-Benz has been producing vehicles in Tuscaloosa for 20 years, manufacturing SUV models GLE, GLS and GLE Coupés.
“We are excited to celebrate 20 years of production in Tuscaloosa by expanding our operations in the region and by bringing our electric initiative to the United States. With this one billion dollar investment, we are significantly growing our manufacturing footprint here in Alabama, while sending a clear message to our customers across the U.S. and around the world: Mercedes-Benz will continue to be on the cutting-edge of electric vehicle development and production,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.